Torrential rains pounded Miami early Wednesday morning, at least temporarily postponing an aerial spraying campaign and creating optimal conditions for more mosquito breeding and Zika cases in South Florida.
Residents don’t need to worry about draining patio and street puddles that naturally evaporate after a few days, according to Miami-Dade public works spokeswoman Gayle Love. Mosquito larvae typically need a week to grow into human-biting adults.
But homeowners should be hyper-sensitive to any items that could collect standing water after a storm, like swimming pools, tarps, tops of trash cans and covered barbeque grills, Love said.
“If there is any standing water on your property, in an abundance of precaution I would drain it immediately,” she said.
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The Aedes aegypti mosquito, the species that transmits the Zika virus, likes to breed in wet weather, hang around homes and buildings and can breed in a bottlecap.But street puddles in the aftermath of storms tend to be dirty for the mosquitoes, which like clean water.
“These are container breeding mosquitoes,” Love said. “A treehole or tire that someone may have in their yard, if it was to hold water, is a dark, warm place that’s ideal for breeding.”
Miami-Dade County announced Wednesday afternoon that aerial spraying to kill adult mosquitoes will take place Thursday morning. Spraying will not take place Wednesday evening because it is still too wet and wind patterns are not cooperating.
Miami-Dade County was unable to aerial spray against mosquitoes early Wednesday morning over a 10-square-mile radius centering on Wynwood due to wet weather, although Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez acknowledged that aerial spraying may not cull significant amounts of the mosquito population.
“We’re looking to get the mosquito in its active period,” Love said.
This story will be updated as news develops
Tips for controlling mosquitoes outside your home
▪ Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out any items that hold water like tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpot saucers or trash containers. Mosquitoes lay eggs near water.
▪ Tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, cisterns, rain barrels) so that mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs.
▪ For containers without lids, use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
▪ Use larvicides to treat large containers of water that will not be used for drinking and cannot be covered or dumped out.
▪ If you have a septic tank, repair cracks or gaps. Cover open vent or plumbing pipes. Use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.